Mona's Real Estate Matters and a Myriad of Other Conversations: Meet Where? Sorry, I Don't Know You! Real Estate Agent Safety

Meet Where? Sorry, I Don't Know You! Real Estate Agent Safety

To be crystal clear because I know my family and some friends will read this, I personally have never been in danger from a client above and beyond the occasional chance to have been bored to death by an incessant chatterer or the non-communicative oxygen sucking customer.  Both examples by the way occurred when I was very new to working in real estate and before I realized my game gets uppCrime Scene Fingerprinted by pre-qualifying the prospective client first and having an interview to be sure we're compatible!  At any rate, I have been working with a number of new buyers recently and a couple have asked me to meet them at the property. Uhm...no.  You see, I don't know you and while I surely want to sell property, an agent's safety comes first so we get to live another gazillion days to sell more property.

 

Before I sat down to compose this post I googled assaults and "Murders of real estate agents in the US" and was stunned to find out that victims of these horrific crimes aren't just women!  So many men have also been targeted, some with gruesome results. The crimes aren't always physical harm or murder, more often than not the miscreants are thieves casing the property for later intrusion.

 

This post is meant to raise awareness of  safety in the workplace of any agent and to point out that our workplaces are varied. A promising trend is the emphasis on safety training of agents and how to avoid putting themselves in harm's way in the first place. The other purpose of publicizing this topic to potential real estate clients and put them on notice that it is just plain wrong to insist or bullying an agent to meet them at a property instead of the agent's office or other suitable public place but preferably the office.

 

Whenever I get a call from a new prospect asking to meet at the property, there is no coyness involved in my response.  "I'm looking forward to meeting you and showing you the property you'd like to see but I don't know you.  My agency's and my own policy for safety's sake is to always meet for the first time at our office.".  I would say better than 9 out of 10 callers will immediately respond with some surprise and something like, "I completely understand."  The minority that try to convince me that their time is sooo tight and they are positive this is THE property they want and couldn't possibly squeeze in the time to meet at the office, well the inner warning bell rings and the hair on the back of my neck raises.  Most likely they aren't anyone intent upon doing illegal or bad things but statistically speaking, they probably aren't a serious buyer either and will surely fall into the aforementioned category of someone destined to bore me to death or suck all the oxygen out of the car with incessant non-consequential chatter!

 

Sure, a buyer's schedule is important and agents do want to economize on both their client's and their own time frame.  However, we have to be very intentional and consistent about the way we safeguard our lives and conduct our business.  The reasonable response to "I don't know you, let's meet first at the office." from a reasonable and authentic buyer will be "Of course, I understand. What is your address?".

 

To learn more about safety tips for real estate agents, follow this link to a National Association of Realtors article. Please  be safe!  

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Comment balloon 36 commentsMona Gersky • May 09 2017 11:57AM

Comments

Good morning, Mona Gersky real estate agents are usually so excited about having the opportunity to put another deal together, they put their own safety at the bottom of the list.... there are too many horror stories happening today to take the risk...safety first...and always be mindful of it...

Posted by Barbara Todaro, "Franklin MA Homes" (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) over 1 year ago

Be safe out there my Realtor friends!

This post is meant to raise awareness of  safety in the workplace of any agent and to point out that our workplaces are varied. A promising trend is the emphasis on safety training of agents and how to avoid putting themselves in harm's way in the first place. 

Posted by Sham Reddy, CRS (H E R Realty, Dayton, OH) over 1 year ago

I am not ashamed to say I carry a concealed weapon during open houses when I'm alone. I'm licensed and trained and have never drawn it out, but in our area there have been a couple of incidents that were pretty bad that could have been avoided.

Posted by Ron Barnes, "Most agents claim they're #1 - I THINK YOU'RE #1! (Associate Broker at Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Georgia Properties) over 1 year ago

I would bet that a lot of agents don't have a regular office because they work out of their home. In fact, many here have boasted that they only go into their brokerage office about once a month or so. It would be nice to hear how they first meet up with clients or how they handle this situation.

Posted by Hella M. Rothwell, Broker/Realtor®, Rothwell Realty Inc. CA#01968433 Carmel-by-the-Sea over 1 year ago

It continues to amaze me how NAR does not / (will not?) include the safety advice of legal concealed carry of a defensive firearm.

The life you save may be your own.

Happy Selling!

Posted by Brad Thomsen, Real Estate Services (Big Bear Realty) over 1 year ago

Brad Thomsen 

NAR is interested in your subscription of reading about one's safety. Last time they wanted $20 to read their write up.

When meet always at office or public places.

Sam Shueh

Posted by Sam Shueh, mba, cdpe, reopro, pe ( (408) 425-1601) over 1 year ago

Thanks Sam.

Safety first.

All the Best,

Brad

Posted by Brad Thomsen, Real Estate Services (Big Bear Realty) over 1 year ago

This is a very critical post Mona and so important. And correct, male realtors also are also subject-victims of crime.

I have been doing real estate for a long time. I'm a man, in pretty good shape, assertive, with a background in martial arts, and I know how to defend myself. BUT yet I meet every single new buyer-client and many seller-clients in my office. I conduct a full interview, with name and all contact information. And my office has a full security system with camera right from the front door. Hello! We just took your photo!

Don't want to meet me at the office? Bye, bye.

I never meet a buyer, someone I don't know the first time out-of-the office, never. Except that I will meet first-time clients from out-of-state for breakfast at their hotel. And usually, I spoke to them both by phone and email a few times already -  an interview of sorts.

So tell me - why do female realtors meet strangers out of the office? I really, really don't get that. It's not only stupid, but really? 

If someone calls me to see a listed house as a potential buyer that I never met at a property.I have never done that. I don't get that. You want to buy a house, see my listing, great, lets meet at my office.

Posted by Richard Bazinet /MBA, CRS, ABR, Phoenix Scottsdale. Sellers, Buyers & Relocations (AZuRE Team - Realty ONE Group) over 1 year ago

Mona

This is a topic that cannot be repeated too many times!

Jeff

Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (Solutions Real Estate ) over 1 year ago

In the 50's, it was offering candy to kids Today, it is a deadly cat & mouse game

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) over 1 year ago

Great policy and response.  As a precaution, when you do meet someone at a property or the office, get the license plate of the car(s) and description for your files or if you're in the field, upload the photos to the cloud.  And let them know what you're doing and why.  Safety in the field is worth more than the commission for a dead agent.

Posted by Mick Michaud, Your Texas Lifestyle is Here! (Distinctly Texas Lifestyle Properties, LLC Office:682/498-3107) over 1 year ago

Mona-It is sad that it has to be this way but nonetheless it is true. Safety FIRST always.

Posted by Sharon Lee, Retired and loving life (Sharon Lee's Virtual Assistance) over 1 year ago

Safety should always be a top priority.

Posted by Jeff Pearl, Full Service Full Time Realtor (RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA) over 1 year ago

Hi Mona - That's a great policy and one we adopted many years ago when we first started in the business. We've never had a client object, and it has never even been an awkward discussion.

Posted by Dick Greenberg, Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate (New Paradigm Partners LLC) over 1 year ago

I feel the same way about open houses.  Anyone can attend. Case the place. Stalk / Harm and agent. The more exposed we are the more vulnerable we become. 

Congratulations on the Feature post!

Posted by Kathleen Daniels, San Jose Homes for Sale-Probate & Trust Specialist (KD Realty - 408.972.1822) over 1 year ago

Back when I had a real estate agency we also had a code to use if we got nervous. We'd call to get some added information from the file - and use specific words.

If we were nervous before we ever left the office, we'd make an excuse to take someone along, and when I was going far out into the woods, I'd often take one of my big tall sons along.

Posted by Marte Cliff, your real estate writer (Marte Cliff Copywriting) over 1 year ago

A well deserved feature! If they won't meet you at the office, too bad for them! 

Posted by Sharon Tara, New Hampshire Home Stager (Sharon Tara Transformations) over 1 year ago

Dear Mona,

Definitely good to put your spidy senses on. If someone seems a little weird, stay away. Luckily, I am not a jewelry wearer & my car is an old stick shift, which has saved me from having it stolen more than once.

Posted by Dörte Engel, ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland (RE/MAX Leading Edge) over 1 year ago

I've never had anything happen to me either. but you can never be too careful. I had a male caller ask to meet me at one of my listing. Had a bad feeling about it so I asked a male agent friend to go with me, which he did. The buyer turned out to be one of the nicest guys I know and eventually sold him a house. I also now carry pepper spray with me. Never had to use that either and I hope I never do. Great post. 

Posted by Stavrula "Sam" Crafa, RNC,GRI, CDPE, PSA, Providing the integrity and service you deserve. (Future Home Realty) over 1 year ago

Mona, I work out of my home and don't have a public office. My lender has given me a key to his office but if it's the weekend, that's vacant as well. I usually meet clients in a public place. Most often a very popular local coffee house. They get to see one of the very popular spots in our area and chat with me over a cup of coffee. It works out so well. No one has ever been unhappy about our meet and greet.

Posted by Tammie White, Broker, Franklin TN Homes for Sale (Franklin Homes Realty LLC) over 1 year ago

Good morning Mona Gersky ,

Congratulations on a well deserved featured post. This topic can't be repeated too many times. I always meet buyers at the office as a policy.  One of the reasons I like an office with staff who meets and greets and conference rooms to take my clients is for safety. People I know see them and know I'm leaving with them. Meeting in a public place is a good second choice but no one there may know who you are or have any idea when you leave with them where you are going. I always leave my office with where I'm going and who I'm with and I also text my husband. Never can be too careful!  

Posted by Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.346.1799) over 1 year ago

A very good advise that all agents need to follow and adhere to..No sales is more important than my safety.I never meet anyone in a property first,if you are not able to meet at my office or a coffee shop then I don't need to meet with you.

Posted by Keji Ogunleye, GRI, SFR, KejiYour Realtor (Fairfax Realty, Inc) over 1 year ago

Yes, that's a great process to use when meeting new people. You can't be too careful.

Posted by Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat (Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com) over 1 year ago

Good blog, Mona. Taking  a few precautionary measures will stop most predators in their tracks but it's still good to know how to defend yourself if ever attacked. Thanks for sharing!

Posted by Nathan Gesner, Broker / Property Manager (American West Realty & Management) over 1 year ago

Hello Everyone!

In years past I've seen similar posts to mine about safety (of course, mine is my favorite lol).  In the past, there has been push back in the comments that agents didn't need to be so cautious.  I'm so glad to see that trend change!  Thank you so much for your attention and comments.

Posted by Mona Gersky, GRI,IMSD-Taking the mystery out of real estate. (MoonDancer Realty, Dillsboro,NC) over 1 year ago

Mona, thankfully in "our neck of the woods" we don't have to worry about this to much, but it certainly has become a thought on every agent's mind in our office.  As you know some of these houses around here can be a long way from nowhere.

Personally, I haven't had a problem, but a couple of the ladies here have come back after a showing and expressed their feelings of "real creepy."

Hope you are having a good Spring!

Posted by John Dotson, The experience to get you to the other side! (Preferred Properties of Highlands, Inc. - Highlands, NC) over 1 year ago

Thank you for talking about this very important subject Mona, and great advise on meeting clients first at the office.

Posted by Abby Stiller, Real Estate Agent Serving Southwest Florida (Premier Realty Homes of SWFL) over 1 year ago

This is probably the biggest threat to a real estate agent. Trust no one....

Posted by Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty, Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County (Bucci Realty, Inc.) over 1 year ago

Mona Gersky This is such an important topic and a great reminder to us all.  Congrats on the feature!

 

Posted by Elyse Berman, PA, Boca Raton FL (561) 716-7824 CRS, ABR, GRI,ePR (Best Connections Realty, Inc.) over 1 year ago

This is such good advice for your safety.

I have read similar posts before and seen agents respond that they won't take steps like these because they don't want to run the buyer off.

Thanks for taking steps and encouraging us all to be safe.

Posted by John Wiley, Lee County, FL Real Estate GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA (Right Move Real Estate Group- EXP Realty) over 1 year ago

One of the benefits I found when I work by referral is - never meet a stranger at a property, Mona Gersky ...

Posted by Praful Thakkar, Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale (LAER Realty Partners) over 1 year ago

I like that you are so up front with your request. And yes, when it is explained I wouldthink most buyers would respond correctly and understand. However, as our techy world moves ahaed more and more people expect everything to happen at warp speed and we will need to hold our ground more often.

Posted by Nick & Trudy Vandekar, 610-203-4543, Tredyffrin Easttown Realtors, Philly Main Line (Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400) over 1 year ago

Posted by Peter Lavelle REALTOR®, GRI SRES, ABR, SOLD@100%Market Value,or I Pay You the Difference (Keller Williams Real Estate) over 1 year ago

Great Post!

Posted by The Romero Team, Re/Max Elite (Re/Max Elite) over 1 year ago

I am much more afraid of those who talk incessantly and bore me to death. I need to start being more afraid of the others. Come to think of it, every time I've heard something similar to THIS is THE ONE PROPERTY for me -- it's never ended up being THE ONE.

Posted by Cheryl Dukes . . . . . Intown Atlanta (Solid Source Realty, Inc.) over 1 year ago

When I think back on some of the times I thoughtlessly proceeded to show properties, I cringe.  So lucky nothing bad happened.  It helps to live in a small market where everyone knows everyone.

Posted by Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089, Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info (Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers) over 1 year ago

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